Susan walked up the stairs as she exited the metro. One of her earphones fell out and she bent a little to grab it. Adele’s latest song was sneaking out as the earphone went back into her ear. She walked a little further and there it lay, right at the foot of the flight of steps; this old raggedy looking, dust laden overcoat. She stared at it for a few moments and then quite unknowingly, yet naturally, bent down to pick it up. As she made her way up, she felt it to be slightly weighty. She looked around to see if someone had dropped it, but other than a stream of people rushing up and down the stairs in front of her, she couldn’t see any claimants. She saw that she was already late for class and thus decided to hold on to it. She threw it over her shoulder and briskly walked up the escalator.
A little man made from one rod of wire, standing no more than eight inches, stood motionless on a high shelf. He shrugged off his stiffness and walked to the edge of the shelf to look across the studio. Strewn with drawing and painting utensils, it was chaotic clutter uplifted by striking watercolours and pastel pictures lying here and there.
The artist had left for lunch and the sound of the door locking signalled relaxation time for the wire man and his colleagues. Paper mache figures sprung to life on the worktop; two of them played sword fencing with paint brushes while the other three played tag. A dog made entirely of paper-clips, snatched a nearby glove puppet in its jaws and shook its head wildly, paper clips rattling while the glove puppet wriggled, annoyed and dizzy…again. The clay thinker just sat, thinking, looking. Being the first one made, the wire man had known each one since they were first put together.
Graveside services to be held Saturday Nov. 11 at 2pm in Cliffside Cemetery.
Known to friends as “Wild Bill”, William was born August 16, 1931 in Clarksville, VA. Parents, William Jackson Morris and Betty Claire Ringwald, owned a small bakery where William worked as a youth and gained a love for the family trade. From 1949 to 1953 William served in the Army where he met Linda Whitfield. The two married in 1953 before moving to White Butte. William and Linda opened Wild Bill’s Bakery in 1954 where he served as head baker and Linda kept the accounting. Into retirement William continued to work part-time at his Bakery.
Survivors include daughter, Janette Mitchell; and two grandchildren, Samuel and Jeremy.
Sam Harrison read the obituary on Friday November 9th. Sam’s mother was hesitant about letting her son read the short script, preferring he stick to more uplifting material. “Wouldn’t you rather read the funnies, Sam? How did you even find out what an obit is anyway?” She asked him. Sam knew what an obituary was. He had stumbled across the two-page section of the White Butte Democrat one day about a year earlier in the leafy pile of pages his father had discarded in his search for the classified and sports sections. Sam enjoyed reading the “funnies” on Sunday morning when they were in color, but the weekday paper’s stale gray and white failed to pique his attention. The pictures of old people in the obituary section, however, fascinated him. He rarely read the actual pieces, preferring simply to imagine their lives in his head. He had read them at first, but found their sterile facts and summaries of life uninspiring – much like the gray and white funnies. In his imagination he filled in the details of those gray-white faces or even made up entirely new lives for them: valiant soldiers, movie stars, or even ancient wizards and knights on his more fanciful days.
I began to let myself slip into a commuting coma. Alongside the hundreds of other disengaged members of the public, I was consumed into the screen of my iPhone. Sure, an iPhone is interesting, it’s bloody interesting. Just yesterday I downloaded an app which tells me all the stars that surround me, I navigate it to the North, it tells me what constellations are above me. I navigate to the East, I still struggle to understand how space is EVERYWHERE, and it will tell me that there are some stars in the shape of an animal – amazing.
So I became disengaged from my phone, just like I just became disengaged from my story. It seriously takes me a millisecond to have my mind switch elsewhere. I disengaged, and the first thing I noticed was lots of lines. LINES.
Lines are a funny thing, perhaps it isn’t even worth calling them ‘a thing’. Some connect, some disjoin other things, some stand alone, they are in everything, but until it was a dull Wednesday morning on a Greater Anglia train, I never noticed them.
She was standing in the Science Fiction section. Her almost obsidian eyes scoured the bookshelves, and her scarlet nails slid across the spines, searching. Scratching a single spine, she teased out a colourful edition of a Kurt Vonnegut and absorbed the blurb. Nick and Lisa locked eyes and she smiled. The way her mouth curled at the sides kept Nick’s eyes glued to her. Her curves ignited his imagination. Nick looked down at the Fifty Shades of Grey he was holding and then returned her gaze with a grin that implied only one thing.
Nick shelved the questionable novel and strolled from Romance to Fantasy. Lisa put Vonnegut away and wandered into his fantasies. They stood shoulder to shoulder in silence. He could almost feel her warmth. He picked up a clothbound edition of The Lord of the Rings. Lisa exhaled deeply and moaned; she knew he’d be the one man to rule her heart.
Their fingers twisted together, and their lives became Poetry for a moment. Lisa knew she and Nick were diving head-first into the abyss of lyricism and imagery but, as the excitement of internal rhyme wore off, she wanted something less fictitious, more concrete.
Deep into the Forest, far beyond the reaches of Dust stood a Treehouse; hidden amongst the Oak trees. In the blossoming sunlight it stood watching the world go by, each day as it comes and by night another. It watched the brown pillars towering over the glazed flowers and the iced mountain tops, over the continuing daylight chasing the clouds across the landscape, and over the animals growing and changing into something majestic. The cascading Oaks hid the Treehouse in their shroud of Green, holding onto their dignity as rest of the Forest shied away. They knew more than they were letting on.
The little girl woke from her dreams sharp as the breath on her tongue. Her butterfly eyes opened from the dark, and she stood up and reached for her bow and arrow, walked towards the door, unbolted the latch and looked out onto the Map beneath her feet. She followed the animal footprints in the freshly carved Earth with her eyes and raised her bow to a shadow-cast Rabbit. She took a moment. She knew she had to do this. It would only take a few moments- moments that had already passed. There were never enough moments in the day.
July 1969. Everyone’s making rockets. Kev’s made one, Bobby’s made one, Nick Cruikshank has made one. Kev’s is a Fairy Liquid bottle covered with white sticky-back plastic and the words Apollo XI written in permanent marker along the side, like he’s seen Val make on Blue Peter, with wooden forks, the kind you get at the chip shop, glued low-down to make it aerodynamic. Bobby’s is an Airfix kit he bought at the model shop on Fisherton Street, with transfers of the American flag and NASA up near the snout, while Nick Cruikshank’s is a fab one, built with Meccano, complete with a launching gantry on wheels. They’re going to have a competition in the park on Saturday afternoon, to see which one’s best. Kev asks if I’m going to bring a rocket too: I nod and race home.
I’ve already got an empty Cornflakes box, some crow’s feathers from the garden, a square of corrugated cardboard and some cocktail sticks in my bedroom drawer – they might be useful for it. I ask Mum if I can have the washing-up liquid bottle, and she says I can when it’s empty, but it’s still half-full so won’t be ready in time – I’ll have to think of something else for the body of the rocket.
By teatime, I haven’t come up with anything. By bathtime, nothing too.